A Rich History

As this page develops, we plan to bring you an assortment of interesting stories and history about the old Frisco line as well as the neighboring towns. We want to share the rich history of this corridor and its relationship to the Ozarks region. If you have anything you'd like to share, please contact us at the listing at the bottom of this page.

1884

The track that will become the Frisco Highline is completed by the Springfield and Northern Railroad. (The name "Highline" comes later, to differentiate the route from other, lower-elevation routes from Springfield to Kansas City.)

1948

President Harry Truman rides the rails from Springfield to Bolivar to dedicate a statue to Simon Bolivar. Because there is no place in Bolivar to turn around an engine, the train returns backwards.

1954

The last passenger trains operated on the line.

1979

Truman makes history on the Highline again! This time, the completion and filling of his namesake reservoir permanently severs the Highline between Bolivar and Kansas City.

1983

Congress recognizes that railroad abandonments are causing the loss of a valuable national asset: railroad corridors. Congress passes the Rail Banking Act to keep the corridors intact. These "railbanked" routes are often used for trails since they invigorate the adjoining communities like the railroad once did.

1991

The Burlington Northern Railroad, which absorbed the Frisco in 1980, files to railbank 30.4 miles of the Highline from Willard to Bolivar.

1993

Ozark Greenways, a nonprofit trail organization, buys the railbanked corridor from the Burlington Northern, then salvages and sells the old rails and ties to pay for it.

1999

The first section of the Frisco Highline Trail, 10 miles from Willard to Walnut Grove, completed and officially opened on National Trails Day.

2000

The City of Bolivar paves the stretch of trail within the city limits.

2001

The Burlington Northern abandons the 5.7-mile section of the Highline between Willard and Springfield, and Ozark Greenways acquires it.

2003

The Springfield to Willard link of the trail is officially opened to the public.

2005

Ozark Greenways finishes work on the remaining 18 miles of trail from the Greene-Polk County line to Bolivar, and mayors from all five towns along the route meet at the midway point to cut the ribbon!

Contact Us

The Frisco Highline Trail is jointly managed by Ozark Greenways, a non-profit trails organization, and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board (within Greene County).

Ozark Greenways
P.O. Box 50733
Springfield, MO 65805
(417) 864-2015
www.ozarkgreenways.org

Terry Whaley, Executive Director - terry@ozarkgreenways.org
Lori Tack, Program Coordinator - lori@ozarkgreenways.org
Mary Kromrey, Development & Civic Engagement- mary@ozarkgreenways.org
John Montgomery, Frisco Highline Trail Manager - john@ozarkgreenways.org